Molecular pore-network model for nanoporous materials. I: Application to adsorption in silicon-carbide membranes

Nafiseh Rajabbeigi, Bahman Elyassi, Theodore T. Tsotsis, Muhammad Sahimi

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We develop a new model for nanoporous materials and inorganic membranes, the pore space of which consists of interconnected pores of irregular shapes and sizes. The model is based on the Voronoi tessellation of the atomistic structure of the crystalline or amorphous materials, of which the membrane is made. It generates three-dimensional molecular pore networks with pore size distributions (PSDs) that resemble those of real inorganic nanoporous materials. In addition to being interconnected and having irregular shapes and distributed sizes, the pores also have rough internal surface, which is what one may expect to exist in most real nanoporous materials. To test the validity of the model, we utilize it to compute the adsorption isotherms of nitrogen in three distinct silicon-carbide (SiC) membranes at 77 K, using equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. Using at most one adjustable parameter, the simulated isotherms and the experimental data are found to be in very good agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 16 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Parallel computations for the work described in this paper were supported by the University of Southern California Center for High-Performance Computing. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.


  • Adsorption
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Nanoporous membranes
  • Silicon carbide
  • Voronoi tessellation


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